Alex Trautwig/Getty Images
B/R Consensus: Chargers (9-2)
Vegas: Chargers (-3)
With Mike Holmgren already on the way out, this team (and coaching staff) knows they are playing for their jobs. Some teams might step up under that pressure, but I can't give the Browns that much credit. They might steal this one at home, but the Chargers are the much better team.
Upset city. Or is it? The Chargers tend to play down to their opponents, and while the Browns have struggled, their defense is good enough to bring out the "Philip Rivers Face" early in this one.
Philip Rivers' mechanics have gone all to hell. Nearly every pass he attempted against the Broncos was thrown while falling backward, rather than setting his feet and driving the ball down field. No matter. While the Browns have a decent defense, and a promising but inconsistent offense, they won't hang with the Chargers.
The passing game has been killing the Chargers on offense and defense. Rivers will be more conservative this week, but the Browns haven't been very good against any passing game. Joe Haden will shut down someone, but Rivers will just go to his other options.
The Chargers will probably use the running game more against the Browns to set up the pass and take the pressure off the offensive line. The Chargers are also coming off a bye and are probably eager to rid themselves of the losing feeling after the collapse against the Broncos in Week 6. Chargers should win big.
As long as the Browns keep taking on shaky opposition, I am compelled to pick them. In terms of personnel, they're a far better team than their record indicates, it's just about minimizing mistakes and learning how to win. At home, they have a better chance, especially against a San Diego team that is traveling east and has been error-prone this season.